Jon Dawson: Missing Watergate tapes found at Kinston yard sale

Photo by Stas Knop on

A few weeks back radio host/Golden Girls reenactor Bryan Hanks held a yard sale to pay for his upcoming trip to GoldenFest ’22.

“It’s an annual tradition,” Hanks said of his pending journey to the town of St. Olaf in Minnesota. “Golden Girls fans from around the globe gather in the hometown of Rose Nylund, portrayed on the show by Betty White. We stage episode reenactments, exchange memorabilia at swap meets and attend Q&As from people who worked on the show.” 

According to festival organizers, the guest speakers at GoldenFest ’22 include production assistant Gavin Rosdale. 

“I worked on the show for seasons three through seven,” Rosdale said in a press release. “Officially I was a script supervisor, but I spent most of my time searching out the hunkiest groupies for Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan. They preferred guys in their 30s who were good at opening tight jars and could operate a TV remote. If you could reset the clock on their VCR they’d buy you a Porsche.”

Avoid the box store blues with a visit to Blizzard Building Supply, located at 405 Walson Avenue, Kinston.

Since Hanks’ chronic athlete’s foot resulted in the Federal Aviation Administration banning him from all airports for life, he will be driving to Goldenfest. This sudden need for gas money prompted Hanks to set up the yard sale.

“The poor security woman who had to check his shoes was unconscious for three days,” said FAA spokesperson Dr. William Scholl. “It’s five years later and her schnozz is still in disarray. In her world, flowers smell like Brunswick stew and Ivory soap smells like gas station shrimp salad and fear.”

While gathering items for the yard sale (t-shirts, old furniture, cease and desist orders from Patti LaBelle), Hanks discovered a box of audio cassettes from his days as an assistant to Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina.

“Senator Ervin was a major player in the Watergate hearings,” Hanks said while combing the hair of an Estelle Getty doll. “I was fresh out of college and needed a job. I got Mr. Ervin’s order right while I was working at a Denny’s in Morganton, and he liked the cut of my jib. He gave me his card, and within a few months, I was in Washington D.C. dusting G. Gordon Liddy’s mustache for fingerprints.”

There’s a huge clothing/jewelry sale going on at Bannister’s Fine Gifts, located at 106 West Railroad Street in La Grange. (The store will be closed the week of July 4.)

Once the hearings were over and the dust had settled, Hanks made his way back to North Carolina to begin his career in journalism. Everything in his modest office was thrown in a cardboard box and that is where it remained until it was recently unearthed for the aforementioned yard sale.

The box contained a few letters, several unopened packets of ketchup and a Studio 54 napkin with an inscription that reads “we need more ice – Henry Kissinger”. Also, at the bottom of the box were three audio cassettes.

“I popped the first tape into an old boombox and couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Hanks said. “It was a phone conversation between President Nixon and John Dean. They were arguing about which show was better, Kojak or The Six Million Dollar Man. Nixon preferred the gritty realism of Kojak, while Dean thought Lee Majors’ portrayal of a mechanized astronaut was sublime. Near the end of the tape, the president admits to having a bit of a crush on Dan Rather.

Hanks has decided to keep the rest of the tapes under wraps until reaching an agreement with the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. 

“I have lots of Golden Girls festivals and reenactments to attend and gas isn’t cheap,” Hanks said. “The last few years have been difficult for me. My decision to pour all of my money into a beeper company decimated my portfolio, but I’m tough. Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain. Also, if anyone needs a beeper hit me up. I’m running a buy one, get 10 free special through 2025.”

Jon Dawson’s books are available at 

The entire Bryan Hanks Show archive can be found at

The Bryan Hanks Show airs on 960-AM in Kinston and daily at 7 a.m. & 3 p.m. It also airs on the suite of stations in New Bern and Greenville (107.5-FM) at 6 p.m.

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